THIRTY MILLION CRIMINAL RECORDS SLATED FOR AUTOMATIC SEALING AS CLEAN SLATE KICKS OFF – GOVERNOR WOLF & BIPARTISAN LAWMAKERS CONTINUE TO LEAD NATION IN SECOND CHANCES

Syrita Bowen News, Pennsylvania, Press

Half of Pennsylvania Courts’ Criminal Records Database to Be Sealed Thanks to First-In-Nation Clean Slate Act HARRISBURG, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf and a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced that Pennsylvania’s courts will begin automatically sealing more than 30 million criminal records – half of their entire database – as a result of the Commonwealth’s first-in-the-nation Clean Slate Act, which becomes effective today. The Governor, elected officials, and criminal justice reform advocates celebrated this historic milestone at a press conference today, as Pennsylvania becomes the first state in the country to use an automated process to seal certain criminal records and offer second chances for individuals with low-level offenses. …

Judges Seek Changes To Drug Sentencing Bill

Syrita Bowen News, Ohio, Press, Uncategorized

–Gongwer News Service Members of the judiciary spoke out Wednesday against a Senate priority bill to overhaul the state’s drug sentencing laws. The measure (SB 3) is too lenient on dangerous drugs like cocaine and opioids, according to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge David Matia, who provided interested party testimony on behalf of the Ohio Judicial Conference. Judge Matia also took issue with the proposition that a felony conviction is a barrier to employment. “The reason that some people with felonies cannot find work is that they have an incomplete education, many jobs are too far away from a bus line, they lack the motivation to get up in …

BIPARTISAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM CONTINUES TO SURGE IN PENNSYLVANIA

Syrita Bowen News, Pennsylvania, Press

Historic Second Chance Bill Introduced by Bipartisan Lawmakers; Emphasis is on Expanding Employment Opportunities Senate Bill 637 and House Bill 1477 Reform Occupational Licensing Laws to Get Pennsylvanians With Criminal Records Back to Work (Harrisburg, PA) – Today at a joint press conference, a group of bipartisan lawmakers announced the introduction of occupational licensing reform legislation aimed at reducing recidivism and breaking down barriers to employment for Pennsylvanians with criminal records. Senators John DiSanto (R-15) and Judy Schwank (D-11) introduced Senate Bill 637, and Representatives Sheryl Delozier (R-88) and Jordan Harris (D-186) introduced House Bill 1477. Both bills contain the following reforms: Prohibit state boards, commissions, or departments from denying or revoking an occupational …

AS OHIO SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARS TESTIMONY ON “NEXT STEP ACT,” JUSTICE ACTION NETWORK RELEASES NEW POLL SHOWING OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PACKAGE

Syrita Bowen News, Ohio, Press

Senate Bill 3, Sponsored by Sens. Eklund (R-18) & O’Brien (D-32), Includes Sentencing Reforms, Record Sealing & Expungement Fixes (Columbus, Ohio) – Today, as the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 3, Ohio’s most significant bipartisan sentencing reform package in years, the Justice Action Network released poll results that show Ohio voters overwhelmingly support major criminal justice reforms, with 87% of respondents supporting sentencing reforms. Titled “Next Step Ohio,” a nod to the “First Step Act,” federal prison and sentencing reform legislation signed into law by President Trump late last year, Ohio’s Senate Bill 3 reduces penalties for some low-level, non-violent offenses, particularly drug possession offenses. Under …

HISTORIC OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING BILL CLEARS BOTH CHAMBERS

Syrita Bowen News, Oklahoma, Press, Uncategorized

House Bill 1373 Significantly Expands Employment, Second Chance Opportunities for those With Criminal Records; Heads to Governor Kevin Stitt for Signature (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) – Today, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved House Bill 1373, landmark legislation that significantly expands occupational licensing opportunities for those with unrelated criminal records. The bill was approved with a 90-2 vote in the House after a unanimous 42-0 vote in the Senate. It now heads to Governor Kevin Stitt for his signature. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Zack Taylor (R-District 28) and Senator Julie Daniels (R-District 29), and endorsed by Governor Stitt, will open new doors to employment for those with criminal records by requiring state entities …